Sunday, December 27, 2009

Random bits

It has been awhile since I've posted so this will be a hodge podge of the past few weeks happenings.

Not too much going on around here running wise. This past week I was feeling a bit run down so skipped my Tuesday run, ran Wednesday evening and then allowed the 'blizzard' to be my excuse for not running Thursday or Friday. Did get some exercise, in the form of shoveling, over the two days of the storm. After digging out from under close to a foot of white fluffy stuff (100 plus feet of sidewalk, 36 steps and our parking area) on day one I had to repeat much of it on day two but with the added bonus of a bit of rain and very heavy, wet snow. I only made it as far as digging out our front sidewalk, around the cars and about 12 steps before a neighbor met me. By then my shoulders were shot from trying to throw snow over the already high banks adjacent to the steps.

Pre day two shoveling - those steps were clear before I went to bed!

It is a tradition around here to give the kids sleds for Christmas and they were due this year (never mind that they are in college - you are never too old to go sledding!). As you can tell by the photo we live on a hill. Just off to the right is a "road" - not maintained by the city - that makes an awesome sledding run. Later in the evening the sleds were put to the test. Pretty slow going at first (wet, sticky snow) but a nice track has been laid down for future use.

Today we picked up our ski licenses, after convincing the retailer that they indeed did sell them - an annual ritual. The city has been busy grooming the local trails and the plan is to get out and ski this week.

I also got
in a long run, starting at Lake level (Sky Harbor Airport) and eventually climbing about 600 feet up the hill and then running Skyline Blvd home. The route consisted mostly of roads - and they were a mess. Knowing that I was heading out to face a lot of ice I installed the screws today on my road shoes:

and in the process took a good look at the wear patterns (note these have about 200 miles on them). Apparently I drag the lateral edge of my heel a bit and I have no real explanation for why my left shoe is more worn down in the forefoot area than my right.

The screws help with traction on all but glare ice - and I found some of that on the Lakewalk today. Yikes! Between that and dodging cars, it was an interesting run. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Chester Creek trail runnable (mostly) and was able to get off the roads for about a mile. By the time I was near home I was ready to be done running and opted to stop at the point where my section of the SHT crosses Skyline. There was only one problem - no humans had been on this section of trail! My choice was another 1.5 miles via road or about a quarter mile through the snow. I chose the snow ;->
I called Mr. Wildknits and asked if he would pack down the trail from the house up to the 'sitting tree'. It was nice not to break trail the whole way home. About 50% of the time I stayed on top of the snowpack. The other 50% I was post-holing through up to about midcalf. Interesting cool down...

The extra time off this week, and blizzard, have been good for getting some knitting done. Finished a pair of mittens I promised a friend:
Heart Crook Pattern on hand, basic mitten pattern

This should have been a fairly quick knit but I was designing on the go and after I got the cuff done things got a bit more complicated. I hadn't really thought through how I would handle the thumb gusset and after ripping out the hand 8 times (yes, 8... it takes a while to work these things out and then I messed up the pattern - twice) I had it all figured out. The second mitten went along much faster (and I think I even wrote this pattern down!). These mittens are bright, the recipient will have no excuse for losing them ;->

Once the mittens were completed it was time to resurrect the hat that has been languishing for quite some time (I think I had intended finishing it in time for Surf the Murph or Pine Valley or the UMTR Awards Fest). Again, my design (which I have been faithfully writing down and am calling 'Runners Hat' for now). I am working with sock yarn (merino with a touch of nylon) and size 0 needles on 176 sts. Not the fastest knitting in the first place but I am incorporating a color pattern which slows it down a bit more. Once it is finished I will post some pictures.

One of my gifts this Christmas (besides wonderful flannel pjs) was a gift certificate to my local yarn shop. The question is should I buy yarn or books or needles or ??? I have plenty of all of the above and no real projects in mind (and a few to finish up). I could use a needle organization system as the method I use now leaves much to be desired (all of the needles piled together in a large ziploc bag).

December 19th Leslie
and I headed down to watch friends run the Tuscobia Trail 50k. The plan was to arrive in time to watch the race start, then hop from road crossing to road crossing for awhile before heading to the race finish and running out on the trail to meet folks and run in with them. And that is pretty much what happened. Temperatures were in the high 20's and the snowmobile trail was really soft. Made me glad I had not succumbed to peer pressure and signed up for the race! Race day photos are at my picasa site. After running 12 or so miles I am very impressed with everyone who competed that day. It was a struggle to find any firm footing.

Still considering options for races in 2010 though I have sketched out a tentative plan: Trail Mix 25K in April, Superior 50K in May, Voyageur 50 mile in July and Wild Duluth 50k in October. There are some other races I am hoping to include as well, but will wait to see how I hold up to the increased mileage. In previous years I have topped out at less than 800 miles (far less up until 2008); this year I am already at 1194. Barring a sudden injury I think I can reach 1200 by the end of the year ;->

As usual I am planning to get out to Isle Royale backpacking, hopefully both in the spring and fall. There is a section of trail that I really want to do, and I think spring would be best due to the amount of daylight and the distance between campsites on this route. It is interesting trying to schedule races around backpacking trips and vice versa. Don't want to be injured for either!

Coming up: 3rd Annual Barely Organized New Year's Day Run at Hartley Nature Center. Check out Northland Runner (scroll down a bit)for the details.


Chris said...

My shoulders are aching in sympathy!!

SteveQ said...

Yikes! The 50 Miler is on the schedule! You must be thinking, "Well, everyone's doing it."

Jean said...

You guys got a ton of snow in Duluth! That was really something driving through there yesterday. It was really strange, as my folks ended up with less than 6 inches. But some of their neighbors just a couple of miles north of them got a foot. And the ski hill supposedly got 15 inches! A really peculiar storm...that lake can do weird things!

wildknits said...

The shoulders are better, but I did discover that sore shoulders make it harder to knit (but don't seem to impact running ;-> ).

Steve, doing the 50 miler 'cuz my ultrarunning buddy said I was - who am I to argue with a younger, faster runner?! Besides, it does seem like a natural progression though I feel a bit guilty about bailing on my aid station duties! It is nice to debut at a distance in your own town, and I certainly know the trail.

Jean, the snow fall was strange. Even worse was shoveling in the rain! Right now the roads are encased in ice and I have found some new muscles in my legs thanks to the less than sure footing yesterday.